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COVID-19 Update 6th June 2021

  • Traffic Light Data

DHSC has published the data from the Joint Biosecurity Centre which informed the Government decision yesterday on removing Portugal from the Green List and adding the seven other countries to the Red list. Having a quick read of the data it doesn’t seem immediately obvious to me as to why Portugal was removed from the list as the number of cases per 100,000 is less than the UK and the test positivity rate is only 1.2%

  • ONS Economic Activity Survey

ONS has published the latest wave of it’s ongoing research on the impact of coronavirus on economic activity. The headline figure for the tourism and hospitality industry is that the seven-day average estimate of UK seated diners was at 173% of its level in the same week of 2019, which was an increase of 41% from the previous week. This reflects the surge in demand after pubs and restaurants were able to open inside and the excellent weather over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Also of interest is the data on job adverts which shows that:

    • Tourism and travel Job adverts are running at 118% of the base level of Feb 2020
    • Hospitality job adverts are running at 132% of the base level of Feb 2020

While this is high and support the problems that the sector is having filling vacancies at the moment, there are a number of other sectors where job advert rates are very high, showing that competition for employees across the economy is very strong. For example:

    • Transport and warehousing is up 295%
    • Construction is up 185%
    • Domestic help is up 190%

All of these could indicate the impact of Brexit on the labour market

  • Passenger Charter Updated

Possibly as a result of yesterday’s announcement, the Government has updated the passenger’s charter which sets out the rights and responsibilities of people travelling overseas. There are no significant changes to the document, with the edits seemly providing better clarity for the public and incorporating new links to other Government guidance.

  • Quarantining Guidance Updated

There has also been an update to the email address in the guidance on quarantining on arrival to the UK were it relates to unaccompanied minors. If it is not possible for a responsible person to accompany a child travelling to the UK the parent, guardian or appropriate adult will need to notify DHSC at and request a specific exemption for them to travel alone. Exemptions will only be provided in exceptional circumstances.

  • Wales Reopening

The Welsh First Minuister announced today that the first phase of moving to alert level one would go ahead on Monday. This means that from June 7:

    • Up to 30 people can meet outdoors, including in private gardens, outdoor hospitality and public places.
    • Larger outdoor organised gatherings and events, such as concerts, football matches and sporting activities, like organised running groups can go ahead for up to 4,000 people standing and 10,000 people seated. All organisers planning events and activities must undertake a full risk assessment and put in place measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including social distancing.

The Welsh Government will consider further changes to the regulations on indoor activity later in the month, if public health conditions allow.

These include:

    • Rule of six for meeting indoors in private homes and holiday accommodation.
    • Increased numbers for indoor organised gatherings and indoor events.
    • Opening ice skating rinks.

He also announced that in light of the changes being announced today, the application window for the Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) has been extended from June 7 until June 14 2021 in order to support sectors further impacted by these changes, specifically those wedding, events and attractions venues with capacity for more than 30 guests. The Welsh Government is working with impacted sectors to top up the current ERF package for the May and June period. Businesses that have already applied do not need to take further action.

  • R Number and Growth Rate

As ever, the final item for the week is the new R Number and Growth Rate. This week’s figures are, respectively, 1.0 to 1.2 and 0% to +3%, which shows why the Government is concerned about the delta variant now being the dominant variant in the UK and a being hesitant about confirming that the England is on track to move to Step 4 on 21st June. This makes next week’s figure important as it will only be my then that the impact of moving to Step 3 on 17th May will have worked it’s way through into the R number and Growth Rate figures.
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